A man is worth his salt if he works hard

Joan Clayton

God’s blood covenant is chief of his wonderful provision for man, but this column is about another covenant our wonderful God provides.
My grandfather used to say, “A man is worth his salt if he works hard.” I thought about the meaning of that statement every time I picked up the salt shaker.
I learned more about the value of salt as I grew up. My basketball star sweetheart (whom I later married) had to take salt tablets to avoid leg cramps. In Bible times soldiers carried a pouch of salt on their belts to replace salt loss from intense perspiration. My grandparents preserved meat with salt. In ancient countries an agreement was sealed with salt.
Salt is necessary to our lives, physically and spiritually. God instructed the Israelites to use salt with sacrifices. More than that, the importance of salt is stated in 2 Chronicles 13:5. Abijah reminded Jeroboam, “Don’t you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?” (NIV) I am one of those descendants and so are you. God is a God of covenant and he never breaks covenant with his people.
Another reference states: “Anything the Israelites present as holy gifts I, the LORD, give to you, your sons and daughters as your continual portion. This is a lasting agreement of salt before the LORD for you and your children forever share” (Numbers 18:19 NCV). To me, God’s salt covenant represents loyalty, “Ye are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). To my mind that includes loyalty to God, family and country. I am patriotic and stand for family values. Just as salt holds together so does loyalty hold families and a nation together.
Did you ever get salt in your eye? Salt can irritate. Taking a stand for righteousness sometimes irritates others, but Proverbs 21:21 states “Whoever tries to live right and be loyal finds life, success, and honor” (NCV).
Salt preserves against corruption, but it can lose its flavor. I surely do not want to lose my flavor. I want to preserve the good in this world. I want to be salty and bring flavor to life to keep it from spoiling. I cannot do that if I break my part of the covenant with God.
I found an old piece of salt in my husband’s pasture. It was still hanging together despite the elements, erosion and time. I want to hold together like that to God and his covenant.
I want my conversation to be “seasoned with salt” (Colossians: 4-6.) I want to salt this planet with the message of God’s love. I want to be “tasty” and gracious when I tell others about Jesus. I cannot do it on my own. I need God’s mercy and forgiveness. Otherwise, I am not valuable to him.
Someone has said, “If you want to walk on water, get out of the boat.” So I’m getting out of the boat with my salt shaker.
You can be a “salt shaker” too.
Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: